Saturday, September 26, 2009

New to co-sleeping

This post is for the Sleep Deprivation Carnival over at Sleep is for the Weak. Check it out!

As a second time mum, when I was pregnant, I had LOADS of ideas about how I'd do things differently this time. Avoid mistakes. Sidestep bad advice (which I followed when I didn't know any better). Do things MY way. Listen to my instinct.

One thing that in hindsight simply screamed "why are you doing this???" was the sleep issue. Our son was (is), um, "high need", for want of a better phrase. We did as we were told and, well to be frank, forced our baby to sleep in a moses basket next to the bed, and later a cot in another room. We read to him til gone midnight sometimes. Eventually, we slept in shifts for about six weeks. Things improved. Marginally. Gradually. He woke every two hours for the first four months. Four wakes a night were not uncommon at ten months, now in his own room. At around 16 months, he started to consistently sleep through. Well, til 4.30am anyway. As you can imagine, we wanted to avoid this with our new baby. I heard about co-sleeping, bitterly regretted not doing it with our eldest. (Who, incidentally, is now always welcome in our bed, but sleeps fitfully there). I researched the concept, and fell in love. We didn't wait to find out if our daughter is high need, and co-sleeping started on our first night in hospital. Tongue-in-cheek, often hidden from the midwives.

Here are some things I LOVE about co-sleeping:

1.) This is a big one. I don't have to get up to feed or comfort Missis. I had NO IDEA I could get so much sleep with a newborn. I'm just hardly tired at all! It's really amazing.
2.) The stunningly hand-crafted bedside (dropped side) cot my husband lovingly made for our daughter. (above)
3.) Cuddling my new baby. Stroking her newborn-soft hair whenever I please. Touching her skin. Marveling at her fingers. Anytime.
4.) Breastmilk is better at night.
5.) More feeding at night means less in the day, and more time spent with my toddler during the day.
6.) I really don't mind how many times she wakes.
7.) My husband loves it. And not just because he gets more sleep. Even when I told him the average age a co-sleeping child leaves the family bed. (Which is two years, by the way. be said "ahh".)

However, there are some no so great things about co-sleeping.

1.) She heats me up so much, I wake up sweaty.
2.) I never knew it was possible, but she actually scoots towards me as we sleep, so that we have less & less room as the night goes on. We only have a double bed!
3.) She has never slept in the aforementioned cot for longer than 15mins. It is being used as a glorified bedside table. My drink, lansinoh, lamp etc.
4.) I refuse to use a duvet due to safety, but we only have an old scratchy blanket & sheet until we can get to ikea & it's not very warm or cosey.
5.) Just when my horribly cracked nipple was on the mend, I wake to find her sucking on it however she pleases. It's not "nipple feeding" Missis!
6.) She has razor blades for finger nails on my over-full, sensitive boobs.
7.) Baby sick, milk & leaky nappies on my sheets.
8.) Sex has to be quicker and quieter. But it's not impossible! And the gentle motion sooths a stirring baby at the other side of the bed.

I recommend it. It's really works for us.



At 8:53 pm , Blogger Laura C said...

Sounds lovely, though was never something I fancied. I'm too scared I'd roll on to her or she'd fall out the bed. Plus I like my bed to myself lol!

At 9:18 pm , Blogger allgrownup said...

It's not for everyone! Really rare to "over lay" baby (technical term), mummies are hyper aware of baby in bed, even when asleep. We are amazing creatures. Even regulate baby's temp by raising or dropping our own.

At 6:09 am , Blogger Coding Mamma (Tasha) said...

We ended up with Rosemary in bed with us quite a bit in her early months, without making it a conscious decision. Lying down feeding really helps if you're being woken up loads! And in her early months it really helped her to settle. She would quite often end up in our bed for a few hours after she'd moved through to her own room, but these days she can't come in to our bed at all, because she doesn't sleep. There are far too many distractions and she just chatters away and kicks and rolls about and nobody gets any sleep.

But in the early days it was very useful. I think we're likely to use a combination again, though will see what this one is like. It's certainly not something we turn our noses up at, nor are we frightened of squashing the baby, which so many people are.

We kept our duvet, and just pushed it down where Rosemary was sleeping and put one of her blankets on her. Until she was over a year and then she just came under the duvet, too. Though more often than not, she ended up outside the duvet, just like her dad. They both have a tendency to overheat at night.

Have to say, we never tried sex with a baby in bed - or in the same room, in fact. Just didn't feel right. We left it until she was out of the house with someone else! But we did wait a helluva long time.

At 10:15 am , Blogger cartside said...

Co sleeping was my saving grace, the only way I could cope with the sleep deprivation due to my also high demand daughter. There did come a time where we decided to reduce the time spent cosleeping and now it's rare, and just as well because she is very fidgety and usually end up kicking my face ;). I loved it in spite of setting out saying we'd never do it.

At 11:09 am , Blogger allgrownup said...

Tasha; I'm not sure how we'll feel about sex in a few months, but in these early days, especially while sleeping, she's not aware of very much. But I can't wait til I'm ready to let her go out with her Nana for an hour!
Cartside; always glad to hear we're not alone :-)

At 8:48 pm , Blogger carol b said...

We co-sleep too, ahh if only we had done it from the first night, we could have saved ourselves the worst sleep deprivation of all, those first ten nights. You live and learn.

At 2:35 pm , Blogger Cave Mother said...

Snap on the never-using-the-bedside-cot thing, and I also had to laugh at your description of your baby scooting towards you in bed. Mine was the same! I always ended up in the middle of the bed.

Do you lie on a towel? It soaks up the leaky milk and vomit and is much easier than using breast pads and muslin cloths.

Lovely post. PS I am quite amazed that you are already up for sex! We still do it occasionally with Cave Baby in bed, but it is very rare that she sleeps deeply enough for us to get away with it (and that has been the case all her life, unfortunately). But downstairs works just as well for us :)

At 1:58 pm , Blogger allgrownup said...

Cave mother: towel is a great tip, i'd been lying Missis on a real nappy (unfolded). Hubby is even more impressed with our current sex-life! It's always been a big part of our relationship, so I'm pleased & relived to resume after months of poor-health-enforced abstinence in pregnancy! My virginity had practically grown back, lol! TMI!! Wish our sofa was a bit wider for downstairs fun :-) Not feesable at present as MIL and boyfriend currently staying with us to "help" (read: get uncomfortable about me breastfeeding, crash about in the evenings waking toddler up, create extra grocery shopping needs and cook inedible meals for us)
Carol: that's why i love being a second time mum!


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